It’s going, going, it’s gone!
San Quentin Giant’s Nico Vargas smashed a walk-off three RBI home run to overcome the visiting Los Angeles Dodgertown team in extra innings 10-7.
With two outs in the bottom of the 10th, a single from Giant Ke Lam Nghiep and a walk on C.J. Johnson kept the Giants alive for Vargas.
“Today was a special day and to come up with a big hit in front of all these people was great,” said Vargas.
The game was dedicated to Bob Stix, who passed March 11. Stix came to play as a catcher in San Quentin in the 1950s with his Army team. One of his last wishes was for some of his ashes to be spread on the field and that his family witness a game.
Six members of his family were present. His daughter, Amy Stix, threw out the opening pitch. “Dad is smiling big. This was his spirit and personality, coming here talking to people. He was always telling us to come here for the experience. I think we got much more out of this. It’s a reminder that we are a part of the same big family.” she said.
The Giants overcame a 6-1 deficit in the seventh; in front of about 60 on-lookers on that warm Aug.15 day.
Singles by Ruben Harper and Lam set up a John Appley triple to start the rally. Richard Zorn singled to score Appley. Dodger pitcher Dale Eby walked the next two batters. With bases loaded, Harper belted a line drive to the left fi eld gate for a double, scoring two for the tie 6-6. Eby struck out the next batter to close the inning.
“Today was pretty special. To have someone’s family to come here, as one of their last wishes, makes you proud to be a part of this tradition. I think we gave them an exciting game,” said Appley.
The Dodgers scored in the ninth for the 7-6 lead.
Giants Appley walked the first two batters. Dodger, Mike Gin moved to third on a sacrifice fly to deep center. A single up the first base gap by David Liptz scored Gin.
Appley struck out the next batter to end the top of the inning. The Giants answered to tie the score, 7-7.
Vargas hit a single and stole second. Appley walked. The Giants advance the runners on a double steal with one out. Zorn singled down the first base line to score Vargas.
The Dodgers put in closer Bill Moreno, who struck out the next two batters to send the game into the 10th.
“I was apprehensive about coming. I know now you have to hold on to this type of experience,” Moreno said. “People tell you stories about this place. I say, don’t let other people influence you. Try it yourself.”
Ted Berg, a sport writer from USA Today, added “I came down here from New York. Some of my friends, who played for the Mission invited me to play these guys (Giants) last week. I was so impressed that I called my editor and asked could I write the story. I don’t think this program is happening anywhere in the country. I got a chance to come back and witness a team that traveled from L.A. to play these guys and a family honoring their father’s last wishes.”
Dodger Bob Pone concluded, “This was amazing. I just returned from Italy the day before. I don’t even know what time zone I’m in. But this was on my bucket list, to experience playing here. I also wish for my family to experience this.”
It’s going, going, it’s gone!